A love story: Maddie & Doug
When Maddie first contacted us we loved her and Doug immediately—you can't help it, she is full of personality and charm. We became fast friends, immediately teasing each other as if we had known each other forever.
It's this kind of charm that comes through their video. You can tell that we're not the only ones who feel a bond with this couple. Everyone at their wedding is completely invested in their love.
Their ceremony was standing room only. Every single person in attendance was intensely listening to the hour long mass, completely transfixed on the couple at the alter. It was a ceremony so touching, I actually cried when they said their vows.
Without further adieu, this is the love story of Maddie & Doug.
How did you first meet?
Our mutual friend Rob Dunn (a groomsman) snagged an internship as a dietician at Mass General back in April of our senior year of college at UMass Amherst, so a small group of us went out to a local bar (Stackers) on a Sunday night to grab a drink and celebrate.
Doug and I sat diagonally across the table from each other and chimed into group conversation throughout the night, but never really spent time speaking to each other except to quickly bond over liking the movie Safe Haven, which I was obsessed with at the time (hence the reference to him being my "safest haven" in my vows).
I'm not sure if Doug actually liked the movie or just wanted to agree with what I was saying, but it worked and has since become a running joke.
After leaving the bar that night, we each asked friends of ours about each other, and those friends maneuvered us into talking while out as a group later that week.
We realized we actually had a lot more in common than just Safe Haven, and the rest is history.
What were your first impressions of each other?
I think we both felt a curiosity about each other, because we immediately asked about the other once we left. Doug swears he thought I was beautiful (I beg to differ, I did not look very good), but he still remembers what I was wearing!
I just thought he was so smokin' hot, I knew right away that I was interested.
On a deeper level, once we got to speak to each other later that week, I realized that he was just extremely kind and had a way of making me feel extremely interesting, because he is an unbelievable listener and made me feel heard right off the bat.
Doug says his first deeper impression of me was that all of our commonalities were "signs" that we were meant to be together. But my favorite "first impression" that he just told me he has of me, is that he thought I was "cool." :)
How did you start dating?
The Friday after we met, Doug and his roommates threw a party that I got an invite to and was pretty nervous and excited about.
Doug's friends warned me that he was shy and wouldn't make the first move when I got there, and that I'd have to put in the work. But, the second I walked in Doug walked right over to hug me and asked me to be his beer pong partner (romantic, I know).
I'm the world's worst beer pong player, but for some reason that night the fates were on my side and I've never played better, which got me "stuck" at the table with Doug all night. Before leaving for the night, Doug asked me to go out for lunch that weekend.
We went to the Route 9 Diner for lunch at 11:30AM, and didn't leave until 8PM... those poor waiters! It was pretty much just understood at that point that we were dating, because we were inseparable from that point on. I mean seriously, who goes out to eat for over 8 hours and doesn't date the person after that?!
What are three things you love about each other?
What Doug loves about Maddie:
- Considerate of other people
- She's hilarious
- She breaks my stubborn routine, makes life fun and different
What Maddie loves about Doug:
- Always makes me feel heard and understood, is an extremely attentive listener
- Willing to try new things and expand his interests when I ask to do things—up for anything!
- Driven perfectionist who is never satisfied by anything less than his best
How did you know you were THE ONE for each other?
We both agree that we didn't "know" on the first date, but we both had a pretty good idea after that date that this was a big deal. Doug says that his friend (and groomsman) Nick came to visit on the Cape over the first summer we were together, and they talked about the relationship.
Doug said that once he talked it all out with a buddy, he realized that I was it. I knew Doug was the one July 4th weekend the year BEFORE we got engaged, after just being together for a few months as well.
We went to the beach with our parents for an evening picnic with wine and snacks, and I was stressed because my nursing boards were coming up and I was getting ready to move to Nashville, and I realized that I really didn't think I could imagine my life without the possibility of more nights like that.
I looked at Doug that night and totally knew that he was my person.
What are some of the quirks about each other that drives you a little crazy — things that only you guys could love about one another?
Doug tells the longest stories on the face of planet Earth. I'm not going to say that I "LOVE" that about him, but it's one of his quirks that makes him who he is and I wouldn't trade it for anything. He always says he "just wants everyone to have all the details of the story that he has so they can appreciate the story like he does," and I think that's the cutest thing ever.
He's also the most attentive and sweet partner ever, always making sure that he's looking out for me first and foremost.
Doug said that my "quirk" is that I use fake accents when I'm talking to him, rather often. He says it drives him crazy in a good way, but the jury's still out on that one! Sometimes it's a southern accent, sometimes it's British, sometimes Australian... you just never know who you're gonna get!
How did the proposal happen?
Once Doug was in the Navy and I lived down in Nashville, we were rarely able to visit home in Massachusetts together; and so we planned a trip home for July 4th weekend way in advance. Doug almost couldn't get the leave granted, but thank God he did.
I picked him up from the airport on the morning of the 5th and we had plans to bring a pizza to the beach and just spend some time alone just the 2 of us, since we hadn't seen each other in a while, and then we were going to meet his family out at a local bar we love.
Doug was super antsy when we were picking up the pizza, and I was just really hangry. Once we finally got the pizza and got to South Cape Beach, I was getting frustrated that Doug didn't want to go sit in our usual spot—little did I know I had already walked past a photographer he had gotten to take engagement photos of us!
So we turned around and went to his preplanned spot, and I sat down to dig into the pizza.
Doug asked me to stand up again, and I was super mad because I was so hungry and just wanted to start eating... but once I got up, he got down on one knee and it all made sense.
The rest of the day was a blur—we took some photos, put the (uneaten) pizza in the trunk of the car, and drove to the Popponesset Inn where Doug and my parents had arranged an engagement party with all of our closest family and friends. We celebrated the rest of the night, and it was truly the most thoughtful and wonderful day.
And if you're wondering, we had the engagement pizza for breakfast the next morning and it was just lovely.
Name three memorable experiences you’ve been through together as a couple.
- We had been dating for only a couple months and went to a Red Sox game for Doug's birthday. My friend Ian (one of the paper cutout heads that was floating around the reception) worked for the Sox and upgraded our seat when we got there, and so Doug and I ended up in pavilion seats with a waiter and a great view.
We were still in the early stages and there was still so much nervous energy between us, so this moment was just so exciting. We felt like we were living in the height of luxury—hand-delivered beer and burgers, Fenway Park, and the beginning of our relationship... we both think of it super fondly now.
- Doug, my sister, my roommate, and I road-tripped down to Nashville behind my parents shortly after that Red Sox game. It was a tumultuous trip to say the least, but we kept trucking along and eventually made it to our destination.
It was the beginning of an entirely new life for me, the start of our long-distance relationship, and there were a lot of unknowns. But, we never questioned that we could do it, and that drive was the start of it all!
- Last fall when Doug moved to Milton, we picked out this apartment together, knowing that it would be the first place we would actually live together. Again with the nervous energy, we were so excited to picture it.
Doug didn't have any furniture, and so we went to Walmart and bought beanbag chairs to sit on in the living room until I moved all of my stuff down in January—we thought we were hilarious, and it really wasn't that bad—we were just so excited to be in the "moving-in together" phase.
When I finally moved in fully in January, Doug had a sign up that said "Welcome Home" and I cried, and it was the greatest day because we knew we didn't have to do the distance any more.
How would you describe the dynamic of your relationship? Would others describe it the same way?
I think it's pretty well acknowledged across the board that while we're both driven and hardworking, Doug is very laser-focused, attentive, and... routine-oriented, while I am slightly more spontaneous and chaotic.
So the dynamic of our relationship works really well, because I force Doug to branch out and loosen up a little, and he pushes me to be slightly more focused.
The best part about it is that we make each other better, because we respect our differences and use them to help each other become better versions of ourselves. I'm not sure if that makes sense.
What values are important to you as a couple?
Well we'd be crazy if we got married and didn't emphasize the fundamentals of a lasting partnership—honesty, trust, kindness, etc. We really try every day to make sure that we are emulating those values through good communication.
But we also feel like we value our openness to change and grow together over the course of our military journey.
Not all couples are willing to embrace that lifestyle, but we feel very much on the same page about keeping an open line of communication and figuring out what works on this journey that we feel lucky to be on.
We also really value the importance of pursing each other every single day. Being in love is a choice, and we really take that to heart.
When you're looking back at this video in twenty years, what do you hope to remember about your wedding?
We left our wedding feeling so euphorically loved by so many wonderful people, and I know that that will come through in our video.
I'd imagine that'll be the best part of watching it back in 20 years.
The overwhelming sense of happiness, and the hard work that was put into creating the most beautiful day is something that will never get old, and we can't wait to relive that forever.
Also, I selfishly cannot wait to watch this video when we're older and remember how smokin' hot Doug is and how awesome it is that I snagged such a babe (although I'm sure he still will be a babe, even when we're old).
Doug would like me to tell you that he is NOT looking forward to being reminded of his "awkward dance moves."
Where do you see yourselves in five years, what are you most looking forward to in your future as a couple?
In 5 years, we aren't even sure where we'll be living (thank you, military) and so it's hard to actually picture our life. But, we hope that we've established a life within our community where we feel supported and surrounded by likeminded people who love us.
We're hoping that in 5 years we'll have taken advantage of travel opportunities and have seen more of the world. We also hope that we will have our first dog, and our first little baby in the next couple of years (I say 2 years, Doug says 4, so we shall see!).
I think the biggest thing we hope to see about ourselves 5 years from now is that we've grown together as a little family unit, and that we've created an even more comfortable home within each other as we travel around the country.
We're really looking forward to just getting to spend as much time together as possible and creating a life that we're proud of.
A lot of people like to point out how young we are, but we just feel like we have a lot to look forward to and we're glad that we get to grow up together now--we just get to be married for longer!!
What advice would you give other couples who are considering getting a wedding video?
ABSOLUTELY WITHOUT A DOUBT, DO IT!!
Even though I desperately wanted one, I hesitated to book a videographer until the last minute because my parents did not understand the need and Doug and I wavered on spending the money ourselves.
BUT, luckily I won out in the end because I had a nagging thought and couldn't get it out of my head.
The process of selecting HVS was easy because their reputation preceded them—and thank the good Lord that they were available for our day.
Following the wedding, my parents have reached out to us simply to express how wrong they were and how grateful they feel that we made it a necessity to book a videographer and that they totally understand the need now.
If I could give a piece of advice to brides in the planning stages, I would say that it is 100% where your money should go when planning your big day.
It goes by so fast and there are so many moments that I wasn't able to see (guys getting ready, faces at the ceremony, dancing at the reception, etc.) that are now captured forever.
It is invaluable to be able to listen to your vows again, hear people's toasts again, and actually relive the FEELING that only a video can capture.